Young thugs need better schooling

YOUNG criminals in Suffolk are not getting the schooling they need to lead a crime-free life.A council report has revealed the county's youth offending service is struggling to meet Government young offender targets.

YOUNG criminals in Suffolk are not getting the schooling they need to lead a crime-free life.

A council report reveals the county's youth offending service is struggling to meet government young offender targets.

By the end of 2004, 90 per cent of all young offenders in Suffolk must be employed or in full-time education or training.

But the report reveals that between April and September 2002 only half that figure had been reached – way down on other counties in the region.

Cambridgeshire topped the charts with 80pc; both Hertfordshire and Norfolk out-performed Suffolk.

A meeting of Suffolk County Council's Learning for Life committee will hear the county is "not performing well against other areas" and there is "a significant amount of work to be undertaken" to put the situation right.

Most Read

As The Evening Star revealed last month, lack of education is the second most important factor in creating young offenders. Ffailed family relationships top the list.

High-profile youth offender cases are becoming increasingly common in the courts as police and council officials try to tackle the menace of young thugs.

Three anti-social behaviour orders have been slapped on teenage louts Jason Nicholls, Thomas Crowley and David Dixon – members of a gang who terrorised the Gainsborough estate.

But targets set by the national Youth Justice Board highlight better education and training as other key factors in reducing youth crime.

The Learning for Life committee called for a report into the issue after figures revealed only 27pc of young offenders were in education, employment or training in 2001.

A new report to be discussed on January 9 claims that low figure was due to data collection techniques.

But it also admits the youth offending team, which brings together the council with police and probation officers, has much work to do.

The report will call for councillors to approve a new plan which will provide regular performance check-ups to ensure the 2004 target is reached.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter